New York Water Science Center

Ecosystem Health

Ecological assessments are a central focus of multidisciplinary projects and programs managed by the NYWSC and managed in cooperation with the water and soil chemistry laboratory as well as other Federal, State, county, and city agencies, academia, and nongovernmental organizations in New York and nationwide. The NYWSC studies the condition of aquatic communities to assess the effects of various manmade and natural stressors and of resource management practices on the aquatic ecosystems and environments in the State and nationwide and in cooperation with a wide array of partners and monitors climate change indicators to identify trends and data gaps for indicators of climate and habitat change. Specific studies include the effects of forest harvesting on the health of ecosystems at headwaters, the influence of remediation of watersheds on ecosystem health, and the interactions between urban landscapes and ecosystem health.

Filter Total Items: 85
Date published: August 13, 2015
Status: Active

Effects of recreational flow releases on natural resources of the Indian and Hudson Rivers

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is developing a unit management plan/environmental impact statement (UMP/EIS) for the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area, an area of Forest Preserve land encompassing a scenic stretch of the Hudson River in the Adirondack Park. Two goals of the UMP/EIS are to inventory natural resources and ecosystems and take actions to protect...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo
Date published: August 12, 2015
Status: Active

Identifying Thermal Refuges in the Schoharie Watershed

Problem Water temperature is a critical component of trout habitat. Stream temperatures not only affect the distribution, behavior, and survival of trout (and other species), but also compel these species to move toward small areas of preferred temperatures, known as refuges, to maximize growth, survival, and fitness. The Schoharie watershed in the Catskill Mountains, including East Kill, West...

Date published: August 12, 2015
Status: Active

Monitoring of Waterways for Mosquito Insecticides, Suffolk County, New York

Introduction Mosquitoes are the principle vector of the West Nile Virus (WNV) which causes infections in humans and animals and has emerged as a public health threat throughout Long Island, NY. The WNV was first detected among birds and mosquitoes by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) in 2000. In response to the public health concern, the USGS in cooperation with the SC...

Date published: August 12, 2015
Status: Active

Long-Term Monitoring of Buck Creek Watershed in the Western Adirondack Region of New York

Monitoring of lake chemistry in the western Adirondack region has indicated reductions in the acidity of these lakes during the past two decades. However, lakes are not always reliable indicators of streams and soils. Uncertainty remains regarding the recovery potential of surface waters and the effects of acidic deposition on soils. Furthermore, nitrogen, long considered a growth-limiting...

Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Spatiotemporal trends in fish assemblages of the Mohawk River

Problem The mainstem of the Mohawk River extends from Lake Delta Dam near Rome, NY downstream to its confluence with the Hudson River near Cohoes, NY. It supports a diverse fishery that is used extensively by recreational anglers. Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and walleye (Sander vitreus) are among the most popular game species with anglers but past biological surveys have...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Scott George, Scott Wells
Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

An Integrated Assessment of the Recovery of Surface Waters from Reduced Levels of Acid Precipitation in the Catskill and Adirondack Regions, New York

Problem - Acidic precipitation has affected forested and aquatic ecosystems in New York, particularly in the Adirondack and Catskill regions. Acidification of surface waters and deleterious effects on fish and other biota have been well documented in both these regions. Despite reduced levels of acidity in atmospheric deposition over the past 20 years across New York and the northeastern Uni...

Contacts: Douglas A Burns
Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

An Assessment of Forest Health and Soil Nutrient Status to Determine the Effects of Logging Practices on Water Quality in New York City's West-of-Hudson Watersheds

The growth of temperate forests is typically limited by the availability of nitrogen. Elevated concentrations of nitrate in some Catskill Mountain streams, which are tributary to New York City's water-supply reservoirs west of the Hudson River, indicate that the forests of this region are at the early stages of nitrogen saturation. That is, nitrogen is available in excess of the amount utili...

Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Sediment Toxicity and Condition of Benthic Invertebrate Communities in the Rochester Embayment Area-of-Concern

Background Heavy metals, phosphorus, and organic contaminants in water and sediments of the lower Genesee River, resulted in the designation of fourteen beneficial uses as impaired in the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern (AOC). The benthic macroinvertebrate community or “benthos” Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) was designated as degraded in the Genesee River because the New York State...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Brian Duffy
Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Assessment of Regional Forest Health and Stream and Soil Chemistry Using a Mulit-Scale Approach and New Methods of Remote Sensing Interpretation in the Catskill Mountains of New York

The overall goal of this project has been the development of forest health and sensitivity indicators and “1st-generation” maps of potential sensitivity to disturbance for lands within watersheds of the NYC water supply in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The methodologies and data layers created in this effort can now be used to aid management decisions and help determine the extent and...

Contacts: Jason Siemion
Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Hydrologic Assessment of the Shallow Groundwater-Flow System Beneath the Shinnecock Nation Tribal Lands, Suffolk County, New York

Background The Shinnecock Nation is located on the south fork of eastern Long Island adjacent to the town of Southampton to the east, and the hamlet of Shinnecock Hills to the west, in Suffolk County, NY. Shinnecock Nation tribal lands encompass approximately 1.2 square miles and are bounded to the east and west by tidal creeks, and to the south by Shinnecock Bay. The Shinnecock Nation has a...

Date published: August 11, 2015
Status: Active

Balancing Wetland Functions in an Urban Setting -- Water-Quality Improvement and Habitat Preservation, Ellison Park Wetland, Monroe County, New York

The Ellison Park wetland, a 423-acre, predominantly cattail marsh at the mouth of Irondequoit Creek in Monroe County near Rochester, N.Y., was evaluated for its potential role to decrease phosphorus loads that are derived from a 151-square-mile largely urbanized area and that ultimately enter and exacerbate efforts to ameliorate the eutrophic conditions in Irondequoit Bay. Monroe County's wa...

Contacts: William F Coon
Date published: August 10, 2015
Status: Active

Sediment toxicity and status of benthic invertebrate communities in the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries within the Massena Area-of-Concern

Background Past water-quality issues in the St. Lawrence River at Massena, NY resulted in a determination that selected beneficial uses were impaired in a surrounding Area of Concern (AOC) and on the Canadian side of the international boundary (Cornwall, Ontario). The benthic macroinvertebrate community or “benthos” Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) was designated degraded because impairment...

Contacts: Barry P Baldigo, Brian Duffy